May 23, 2009

New bathroom

Yes, we hope to redo our bathroom in July. This is the fourth time I have been hospitalized in ten years and had to have help each time around the bathroom. Can't step over the bathtub unassisted to get into the shower. Must have a booster chair on the toilet seat. Needed a bath bench because I couldn't stand up in the shower. It was endlessly frustrating for each recovery!

After ten years of trying to make do in older bathrooms that are not set up for disabled people, we are finally doing something about it. We have interviewed contractors, gotten a sketch from T our friend who is an architect, seen bids, scaled back our plans to something we could afford, had T draw a new sketch, and are finally ready to go.

We hope to receive a revised bid in the right amount from the contractor we like best in the next week.

Meanwhile, our concept has three priorities -
1) Move the washer and dryer upstairs from the basement
2) Put in a heated tiled bathroom floor
3) Replace the bathtub with a shower that has a bench

(We originally wanted to put in a small powder room but it was much more than we could afford.)

The revised plan uses our current door but puts it into a pocket so that it slides back and forth instead of opening into the bathroom.

On the left in the space currently used by the linen closet will be the stackable small washer and dryer. Across from it will be a wall-mounted cabinet with storage for laundry stuff and a pull-down rack to dry delicate garments. (We'll have to redo the bedroom closet too to make space for the linens which will no longer be able to live in the linen closet.)

Just beyond the washer and dryer will be a small vanity with sink. I am looking at some very cool glass and ceramic sinks that come in colors -- thinking bright cobalt blue right now. The vanity will have three drawers on the right side extending down to the floor and one cupboard door for more storage below the sink. On the left, climbing up to the ceiling, will be a tall narrow cabinet that either pulls out (like a pantry) or with a door that opens.

I found these amazing drawer pulls. There will be a medicine chest, maybe reusing one of the mirrors that is still in good shape. We will have lighting around the mirror too, perhaps vertical sconces.

One thing we have plenty of is height. The ceiling is over ten feet. So we want to use that resource. The contractor talked about putting in a soffit - a fake trim on the ceiling - with lighting above it for general lighting.

Across from the vanity and sink will be the toilet, facing parallel to the wall (not perpendicular, the way it is now). It will be a chair height toilet, low flow or dual flush toilet, so that everyone can sit on it comfortably. I have the contractor looking into the fancy Japanese-style toilets by Toto, just in case they turn out to be affordable. These are the amazing toilets that have heated seats, blow warm water and air, and play music. I saw them in Japan and fell in love immediately.

At the far end will be the shower, a tiled enclosure with a rainfall shower head at one end and a bench at the other end with a handheld shower head so that when I can't stand I will still be able to take a shower unaided. We found some beautiful border tiles from Jerusalem Pottery in Israel and can't wait to order them.

The colors will be soft purple, cobalt blue and a soft butter yellow. The tiled floor will reflect all the colors, while the shower will be mostly white with the accent tiles in blue and yellow. The vanity might be a warm light colored wood with that cobalt sink, the upper cabinet to match.

I tried to upload a pdf of the architect's sketch but couldn't get it to work. So you will have to imagine with me and I will post photos of things as we decide to use them.


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing your plans with us. When you talked about a bathroom to cope with disability, thoughts spring to mind of "serviceable" "practical" things but you have blown that concept out of the water. Your ideas are beautiful, very mediterranean
    Well done!

  2. I love cobalt blue. Lovely!

  3. Betty Johanna7:42 AM

    Several years ago, we unexpectedly needed to buy a new toilet, right away. We went to Aurora Plumbing (Seattle), a non-big box store we would miss if it wasn't there. "We need a low-flush ADA-height toilet that really works." Learned that the higher toilets are called convenience height toilets. We spent enough money that we call the toilet our "home entertainment center."

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